!!! IMPORTANT – Read this first !!!
Last update: 25 May, 2020
One can write a full book on MDR mangaLam 🙂
- For MDR, mangaLam was not a “tail-end piece”! It was one of the most important part of the concert. Below instance shows how much importance he gave to mangaLam! This is a must hear for all!
- Here is another similar instance where he is requesting people to respect the mangaLam. In this instance, he just slowed down the already slow “nI nAma” and added some subtleties, as if to make sure that everyone takes a good note of mangaLam!
Take the hypothetical case of losing all the great renditions of MDR, and only his mangaLams being left, I think rasikas will still be able to recognise and celebrate his greatness just from the mangaLams he sang and he will be remembered ever for that! While most musicians use the mangaLam as a formality to wrap up the concert (and sometimes sing very short ones, just about 30-45 seconds), MDR considered it as important as (or even more than) any other kruti and generally gave an elaborate treatment to the mangaLam.
The structure of his mangaLam mostly followed a preset format. He typically sang:
- all/most the charaNams of “nI nAma rUpamulaku” (saurAshTram, tyAgarAja) – the order of charaNams could differ based on the occasion!
- then moves on to “alakalalla” (madhyamAvati, tyAgarAja)
- followed by last stanza from “bhAvayaAmi” (madhyamAvati)
- and concludes with a plea to Padmanabha
- occasionally, a shLOka is also added at the end!
Most of his mangaLams took between 2-5 minutes, and, occasionally it could go to 6-7 minutes. And there are instances where it crossed 10 minutes!
- Here is a typical full “MDR mangaLam“! Each line of “nI nAma” has some variation or interesting take to offer! mangaLam is also one of the best opportunity for the mrudangam player to go all out. Typically, it doesn’t involve much breaks and pauses, so, one can just relax and play. But, even here, if the mrudangam player is alert, there are opportunities to synch up and create beautiful effects!
- And here is one which misses out on the shLoka, but still detailed:
- One of the most detailed mangaLam – lasts almost 12 minutes (feels like concert items only!!!). “nI nAma rUpamulaku” takes around 7 minutes. In the middle, he comments that this is a kIrtana which has lot of charaNams 🙂 And on top of this, in this instance, he has sung the “alakalalla” also in an extensive manner. (For the full concert, refer here)
- And here is an instance where he has sung almost all the parts in an unhurried fashion, and managed to finish mangaLam in approx. 2 minutes (by skipping all his typical elaborations).
Though MDR followed a set format for mangaLam, every now and then, he would come up with some “twist”! His regular rasikAs would always be looking out for this small “treats” which ended the concert with a “WoW” 🙂
- Here is one with shorter “nI nAma rUpamulaku” and faster kAlapramANa:
- In the below instance, he actually did a shorter version of “nI nAma rUpamulaku” and almost stopped at the end of it. People who are not familiar with MDR thought that the concert had ended, but MDR had his own plans! And he enjoys the surprise that he has given to the audience and goes on with his usual style of concluding 🙂
- In this managaLam, you can see an unconventional tempo change at prahLAda 🙂
- Rarely, based on the situation, MDR adapts the mangaLam as well. Some charaNams from “nI nAma” are dropped. And, since bhAvayAmi had already been sung in the concert, he drops it from the mangaLam and instead gives a bit more flesh to the rest of the parts!
- It is only on rare occasions that MDR skips “nI nAma” from the managaLam. Here is a case where he has skipped “nI nAma” completely (possibly as this is a navarAtri mandapa concert?). And note the mini AlApana at the beginning 🙂
- Occasionally (probably due to unavoidable time constraints), mangalam may be done as a super fast affair! Here is such an example :
- And this one is a “really” short one – just about 1.5 min!
That’s not all…
- In the below mangaLam, he starts with short sketch of rAga, and then mentions that mangaLam is not a light piece and should be treated as any other kIrtana. He says that, as per rules, nothing prevents you from singing an AlApana or/and kalpanAswaras for this kIrtana and then continues with a short rAga AlApana before starting with “nI nAma” 🙂 (For full concert, refer here)
- The following one is again a shorter version, and when he starts, he remarks something like “this is also a kIrtana“! Note how he is ending this one – with few swarAs and a “micro” AlApana!!! 🙂
Note: It would be interesting to know when MDR started adopting this “multi-layered” mangaLam!
Extremely informative and rare information on MD Ramanathan sir’s music ,considering the fact that these days it is Extremely rare to find people or friends to even discuss these types of things and the reach of our traditional Carnatic music to the younger generation like me is furthered and its originality preserved in attempts to blog as these.
I have no qualification to comment on what is written here in the blog. I submit my humble pranams at the feet of whomsoever runs these blogs as they are the source of information and preserve the nectar the rasikas carry after the concert and preserve the Carnatic music in an age where i see none of my friends or classmates listen to these songs and a musical discussion is always about some western musical or film songs. My humble Pranams at your feet .
Thank you for the kind words. As you would have already realized, Carnatic music is a vast ocean and every musician brings out some beautiful aspects from that ocean to the rasikAs. I truly believe that everyone’s contribution is important and brings some or other interesting aspect of music to the forefront. MDR is one among those great artists, and he ventured into “uncharted territory” in this ocean to expose some less explored aspects of Carnatic music.